Fall Events Program at The 8th Floor

In conjunction with the exhibition Enacting Stillness, the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation is pleased to announce a series of artist conversations and performances, led by the Foundation’s Artistic Director Sara Reisman. All events are free, open to the public and located at The 8th Floor, 17 West 17th Street, NYC, where the exhibition is on view through January 13th, 2017.

Enacting Stillness curated by Sara Reisman, considers the political potential of slowing down and stopping as forms of resistance, protest, and refusal. An international group of artists engage time-based practices that challenge and upend our expectations for the continuity of performative compositions, lines of movement, and thought, working with the disciplines of choreography, theater, moving image, sculpture and performance.


Carlos Martiel, Asentamiento (Settlement), 2012. Performance at Manta, Ecuador. Photo courtesy of Gustavo Solar.


Wednesday, October 19, 6 to 8pm

Carlos Martiel: Maze

Carlos Martiel’s new performance Maze reflects on the current system of mass incarceration and racial discrimination in the United States, where a disproportionate number of the imprisoned are African Americans and Latino immigrants. Focusing on forced labor within the prison system, and the threat of loss of privileges and solitary confinement for prisoners who refuse to work, Martiel takes a position of stillness and draws parallels between current prison policies and conditions in the US and historical systems of oppression in European history.

This performance includes mature content and may not be suitable for children.


Thursday, October 27, 6 to 8pm

Clifford Owens and Carlos Martiel in Conversation

As a follow up event to Martiel’s performance Maze, Clifford Owens will interview Carlos Martiel on October 27 at The 8th Floor. Owens will guide the conversation to expose the relationship between Martiel’s practice and performance art of the 1960s, namely, body art. Together the two artists will discuss Martiel’s artworks, including Ruins and Expulsion (both 2015) featured in Enacting Stillness, and will reflect on the implications of Martiel’s recent performance of Maze.


Saturday, November 19, 6 to 8pm

Rehan Ansari: Unburdened

The 8th Floor will present a staged reading of Rehan Ansari´s playUnburdened, which is featured in Enacting Stillness as an installation of performance ephemera. The play is set in the time around President Obama’s first inauguration. A journalist from Toronto travels to Karachi, where he becomes consumed with our inability to truly comprehend what it is to live inside a war. He glimpses the enemy’s point of view: we see an argument for militancy that has a global audience. We observe the protagonist’s struggles through his partner’s eyes as he feverishly communicates with her over the phone and Skype. In Karachi he stays with his elderly aunt and uncle who have lived with a terrible secret over the course of their 60-year relationship that began amidst the Partition of India.


Monday, November 28, 6 to 8pm

Lucia Nimcova: Khroniky

Organized in collaboration with Rubin Foundation grantee Triangle Arts Association, Lucia Nimcova will present a lecture-performance related to her ongoing project Khroniky, which functions as an archive of photography, video, and sound recordings from western Ukraine. Nimcova describes the work as a folk opera: a collection of songs, stories, music, performance, and field recordings, existing somewhere between an ethnographic document and musical theatre.

Khroniky proceeds from Nimcova’s previous work on both the female experience in Eastern Europe and the contested histories of her native Rusyn minority. This work similarly seeks to show how the past influences the present. In the end, it is an attempt to navigate a polyphony of subjectivities, in the context of Ukraine’s unstable situation, both historically and in present day. Nimcova participated in Triangle Arts Association’s studio program in late 2015.


Thursday, December 8, 6 to 8pm

Kameelah Janan Rasheed: A More Convenient Season

Kameelah Janan Rasheed will present a new performance/lecture on constructions of racial progress in America, opening up a discursive space to examine the tensions between perceived and actual progress. Rasheed will draw on texts from her new series of prints, on view in Enacting Stillness, which are based on the words of Nina Simone, James Baldwin, and other Black figures who consider the temporal politics of liberation. Following her performance, Rasheed will invite the audience to participate in an open discussion using a series of prompts which will be made available in advance of the program.


Thursday, December 15, 6 to 8pm

Brendan Fernandes and Jess Wilcox: Still Move

A book launch for Brendan Fernandes’ forthcoming publication Still Move will feature a conversation between Fernandes and curator Jess Wilcox, followed by a reception. For the last five years, Fernandes has explored how stillness and static gesture can be powerful tools of resistance. Informed by his training in ballet and modern dance, Fernandes routinely explores the role of the body within social and political spaces, questioning and breaking down the notion of hegemony. Inspired by choreographic vocabularies relating to labor and endurance, the work demonstrates the artist’s interest in responding to histories of avant-garde dance and its relationship to visual art. Fernandes takes on numerous forms, building on an effort to negotiate a complex sense of both individual and cultural identities within performative acts.


Wednesday, January 11, 7 to 9pm

Rehan Ansari and Ping Chong + Company: Theatrical Duet

Rubin Foundation grantee Ping Chong + Company will present an excerpt of its recent performance project Beyond Sacred: Muslim Voices in dialogue with artist Rehan Ansari whose play Unburdened is featured in Enacting Stillness. Ping Chong’s Beyond Sacred is part of Undesirable Elements, an ongoing series of community-specific interview-based theater works examining issues of culture and identity, for individuals who are outsiders within their mainstream communities. Presented as a chamber piece of story-telling, a “seated opera for the spoken word,” these performances are tailored to suit the needs and issues facing specific communities. With his background in investigative reporting, Ansari’s play Unburdened was developed through research methods stemming from journalistic practice. The evening will feature readings from each script, followed by a panel discussion.


Friday, January 13, 6 to 8pm

Estévez and Grullón in Performance: Sounds of Slowness

Two artists in the exhibition, Nicolás Dumit Estévez and Alicia Grullón use slowness and silence in their staged interventions in public spaces in New York City. Their performances engage issues of gentrification, labor conditions, immigration, and the role of art in civic life. Estévez and Grullón each employ a combination of gravitas and humor to raise questions that relate to the complex cultural landscape that is New York City. Their evening of performances will mark the closing of the exhibition Enacting Stillness.

About The 8th Floor

The 8th Floor is an exhibition and events space established in 2010 by Shelley and Donald Rubin, dedicated to promoting cultural and philanthropic initiatives, and to expanding artistic and cultural accessibility in New York City. The 8th Floor is located at 17 West 17th Street and is free and open to the public. Schools groups are encouraged.

Viewing hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11am to 6pm and Saturday by appointment. the8thfloor.org

About The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation

The Foundation believes in art as a cornerstone of cohesive, resilient communities and greater participation in civic life. In its mission to make art available to the broader public, in particular to underserved communities, the Foundation provides direct support to, and facilitates partnerships between, cultural organizations and advocates of social justice across the public and private sectors. Through grantmaking, the Foundation supports cross-disciplinary work connecting art with social justice via experimental collaborations, as well as extending cultural resources to organizations and areas of New York City in need. sdrubin.org

Join the conversation with the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation on Facebook (The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation), Twitter (@rubinfoundation) and Instagram (@rubinfoundation) with the hashtags #The8thFloor and #RubinFoundation #EnactingStillness